Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are discussing multiple trade options for their first base vacancy.

Morosi mentions Adam Lind and Logan Morrison. Last week we heard that James Loney was emerging as the top choice for the Pirates, and that they were also looking at Lind and Mitch Moreland. There have also been reports in the past connecting the Pirates to Mark Trumbo, who is said to be available this off-season.

Lind is coming off a big year at the plate where he hit for a .288/.357/.497 line in 521 plate appearances. The offense was strong, but his defense was horrible. He’s under contract for $7 M in 2014, with team options in 2015 and 2016. The 2015 option is $7.5 M with a $1 M buyout. The 2016 option is $8 M with an $0.5 M buyout. That means Lind would be guaranteed at least $8.5 M in a trade. His 1.8 WAR last year would have been worth about $9 M on the open market at $5 M per win.

Morrison became available when former Pirates Garrett Jones signed with the Marlins. He has a career .764 OPS and a career .786 OPS against right-handers. Once again, the defense is horrible, but Morrison does come with the hope that he could improve his numbers going forward, possibly getting help from moving out of Miami. He turned 26 in August.

UPDATE 2:33 PM: Rob Biertempfel says that the Pirates approached the Marlins last week about Morrison, and have mild interest.

UPDATE 3:04 PM: Jon Morosi says the Rays are also looking at Morrison.

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94 COMMENTS

    • Considering how few of the deals that are actually talked about ever go through, how much credence can you even give to a speculative report like that? I get enough of this from Jim Bowden.

      That said, Carp would be an interesting bat.

  1. Recente reports are that the San Fran Giants have reached out to Corey Hart but are not willing to go to the number or years or dollars that he’s interested in. Likewise, Milwaukee is now looking at trade possibilities due to Hart’s demands.

    My Take: IF Corey Hart would accept a deal around $9-10M per year and for a couple of years and his injury report is good/decent…I would pay him more than Loney to be our 1B. His bat is good and his defense isn’t terrible at 1B. At first it was said that he may be a 1-year deal kinda guy trying to rebuild his value after an injury year, but if he’s looking for multiple years this might be a way the Pirates could step in and “outbid” some other teams…they don’t have anyone they would be blocking with a multi-year deal and if the injury history warrants signing him, then I would risk the multi-year deal to have his bat in our lineup.

  2. Jared…. great posts, thanks. I tend to agree with most everything that you have said. Im on board with Lind. He could have a great coming out party and I would love to see that split with Gabby. The only way they should do it is if they REALLY believe that they can improve his defense a tad though. Otherwise, it could be a loser… or if he puts up great offense then a wash. He has to have at least adequate defense to go along with a lively bat.
    I am wondering just how bad his defense is to the eye test. They moved Encarnacion from 3b to 1b and had Lind DH last year… Make me wonder.

    • A Josh Harrison for Logan Morrison trade actually doesn’t sound that bad…lose some depth but saving the money over signing Loney could definitely help find some infield depth.

  3. In other news, the Cubs are interested in trading for relief pitching…I wouldn’t mind if the Pirates signed Loney and traded a top relief pitcher for Vogelbach who is 2 years away, but is blocked by Rizzo.

  4. Nate Schierholtz wouldn’t be a bad pickup to help man RF with Tabata, but they already have a love affair with Snider. His numbers would look good in a platoon with Tabata, except that Tabata hits similarly…he hits righties really well but so does Tabata and Tabata struggles against lefties, at least he did last season.

  5. It all comes down to what the cost would be in players/prospects. Given he is much younger and has the potential to be a high reward kind of acquisition, I’d be for trying to get LoMo. His LH bat should be well suited for PNC. But, again, it all depends on what the asking price is.

    Lind? Good hitter, but basically a DH – doesn’t have a real position and is very immobile. My guess, given the year he had last year, he would cost more than LoMo. If yes, I’d pass. I think Moreland would be a superior option to Lind.

    How about Schierholtz – did he resign with the Cubs or is he a free agent?

    • I like the analysis of the two players. I’ll add the issue with Lind is he has been a below average hitter every season except 2009, 2013, years that were propelled by BABIP .025 points higher than career average and > 19% HR/FB rates. Outside those years he has been below replacement. ISO peaks early so $7 million/year for a player plus whatever the Pirates give up in a trade seems suspect. You are betting on 31 yo whose value is power depended coming to a park that suppress home runs at 10% rate from Toronto for LHHs.

      • Thats my one big reservation about Lind…Toronto is a launching pad and even though PNC is LH-friendly its not really more so than Toronto so he could see a regression power numbers. I do like him more than Morrison though.

        • There are no great options, if there were they would priced at > $15 million AAV. I do not have a preference but Morrison is former top prospect, fits the Huntington target category, and it is a bet on health, he had two surgeries involving the same issue with his patellar tendon.

          Park factor for LHH for home runs, PNC 93, Toronto 103, PNC is not a power friendly environment however I have seen Brain Cartwright state that PNC’s center-field is a little more forgiving then average.

          • What would you think about a double-deal? Trading a top relief pitcher for Vogelbach and signing Loney for 2 years at 7M?

            • Trade hypothetical’s are not my cup tea there is just an absurd amount of uncertainty to spend much time considering them. Vogelbach is listed as the Cubs #9, grade B hitter, maybe, without positional flexibility, that around $6 millions in worth. I guess a middle reliever might get it done, but are the Cubs really trading assets? When ever I see proposed trades I just come away with more questions.

              I Like James Loney, I do not think the price will be too high, teams like power hitters at the corners. However anything above $7-8 million/ for 2 years the deal makes less sense for the Pirates, and I think he will get a better offer than that.

  6. Mark Trumbo has turned into a decent 1b…being positive in defensive metrics like UZR and defensive runs saved the last couple years …and has a great power bat but not much average and is also right handed.

    • IF the Rays trade for Morrison…the Pirates should offer Loney no more than $7M per year…I don’t know who the other bidder would be, really.

      • TB got Loney for 1-yr, $2MM last year. Is he a different guy now? Was his 2013 (778 OPS) so impressive that now he’s a $7MM guy?

        • They got him on a 1-year deal thinking he’d bounce back…which he did. His 2012 was a -0.4 WAR so he was basically worth the $2M…then he put up 2+WAR again, making him worth $7M, yes.

          • The Pirates can’t just spend money – they have to spend it wisely to win. For a $7MM per year commitment over more than one year, you have to get some measure of confidence that the player will be productive.

            Loney is one year removed from trash-heap, and that one year wasn’t exactly a hum-dinger – it was merely adequate. Maybe Loney rakes 850 OPS in 2014 and is worth every penny of $7MM, in which case I will wear the dunce cap (wouldn’t be the first time!) happily, i.e., if the Pirates sign Loney, then I hope and pray it turns out that I’m completely wrong about him.

            He hasn’t done anything to inspire any confidence in me, but hey, for every Derek Bell there’s a, umm, well, a free agent who did pan out.

            • He doesn’t have to hit .850 OPS to be worth 7M though is the point.

              Listen, you can debate Loney with me all day and you’ll hear the same thing because I do NOT really like Loney that much either. However, with that said, he’s worth $7M, which I have stated from the beginning, and the defense+RISP numbers+average alone will make him valuable at $7M.

        • To answer your question: YES…
          If what it takes is $7M for a 778 OPS 1B with solid D, it is a good deal.
          I’ll take 2 years of that!

      • Jared, I’ll go ya one further. If the Rays trade for Morrison, I think Loney’s value drops to about $4.5 – 5 mil / year. With Boston locking up Napoli, MIL supposedly having Hart as a top priority (and Hart saying he’ll give a hometown discount to them) and Seattle not really needing a 1B, there really may not be any other bidder. I haven’t been the biggest Loney fan, but at $5 mil per and not costing any prospects, he’d be tough to pass up.

        • If the Pirates could STEAL Loney for under 7M per year, essentially 1.2 WAR value for, hopefully, a 2.0 WAR player…then the Pirates would be in a great position signing him…and, then, I would do it.

          I am not a huge Loney fan, but the defensive value, when we’ve already lost some defense for offense at SS, would be good and, as I have profiled before, his hitting with runners on base and RISP last year was very good. I don’t love Loney, but for 7M or under he’d be a good deal.

        • I’d offer 2-years, $6MM, which is higher than significantly richer than his last contract (1-yr, $2MM), on the theory that, since he was not as awful in 2013 as he was in 2012, then maybe he might prove to be worth it, but even that’s a stretch.

    • Jared…agree.

      One thing that hasn’t been mentioned about LoMo is his twitter fights with management.

      It seems like he is one quirky dude.

  7. My only problem with Lind or Morrison is either one of them will get moved in and out of games on a regular bases the way Hurdle manages. Get a solid two way first basemen (Loney) and save a roster spot, platoons take up roster spots. I realize a small market team has to win anyway it can, but if possible avoids the platoons. The better the team is, the less it uses platoons.

      • Well Morrison and Lind aren’t any good defensively either, his bat is significantly better than these two and could fill in hitting cleanup.

  8. I prefer Lind of the 2 of course depending on what it would take. Morrison is younger but has never really done much.

    Lind’s contract looks to be right around what it appears Loney will cost. Lind with the better bat and Loney the better glove by far. I still prefer Loney, especially since no trade would be required. I would also be fine with Lind as long as no top prospect was given up. Morrison is an option in my mind as a plan D or E and I wouldn’t give anything of value to get him.

  9. It’s pretty clear that with free agency looming not too far off in the future, Pedro will not be a Pirate for long. Why not put a package around him while value is high and make a major move this year before we get nothing in return? He’d look good in pin stripes and he’d love it.

    • We have no one to play 3B… is one reason, reason 2, we still have control for a few more years. His value would increase even more if he hits 30+ HR’s and increases his OBP. He is still getting better. There is no question that the Pirates will be trading him but now isn’t the time.

    • Why trade Pedro right now when we still 3 more years of control?? There is still plenty of time to gets lots in return for Pedro. Why not get his possible 40 homers for the only 4 million he will cost this year?? There will be a time to cash in on him in the next couple years.

      • That’s the point, everyone wants players with years of control … not when they’re about to go to free agency. Let’s take advantage of that and get something of value in return that might solve multiple weaknesses rather than having to give up our top prospects. Personally, I would rather see two guys with 15 to 20 HR potential instead of one guy with 40 HR potential who can’t hit lefties and leads the league in strikeouts.

  10. Lind is very streaky. Almost Pedro streaky and put up a John Buck month last year. I think LoMo is great “change of scenery” guy with high upside that could flourish with a different team.

    • LoMo and Lind have very similar defensive profiles: bad. So that really isn’t a consideration…so when you compare the two, I guess, you’d really have to look at the bat and say who do you think gives you the best offensive value for the time that he will be in the lineup (against RH pitching). I think that is clearly Lind. Even on a rebound year LoMo has a lower batting average than Lind and I think the true difference becomes clear when you look at their ISO numbers:
      -Lind is a career .196 ISO hitter
      -LoMo is a career .178 ISO hitter

      Yes, LoMo could do for a change of scenery, but I think, since both players do not profile well with the glove, Lind has the better bat…and that’s what you’d be buying.

      • LoMO didn’t come up with a bad defensive reputation. I think the injuries and the playing of LF over the last three years really hindered him. If LoMo appears to be healthy, I take him in a heartbeat. Two years ago he was considered untouchable. Additionally he would be a great fit at PNC.

  11. In terms of prospects what does it cost to get lind? he is an interesting/ cheap option for a guy heading into his prime.

    • Actually Lind is a player moving past his prime. He will turn 31 in the middle of next year. Over the past four years, he has an OPS of .757 – a good year last year and three mediocre ones during the Age 27-30 period that should have been his prime. Also poor defensively. I’d take him for free (maybe) but wouldn’t give up anything at all of value.

      • Most of those numbers you are posting are due to him playing every day until last year. His numbers against RHP only are much better. The guy is 30 and will turn 31 in July and you make it sound like he’s old. As long as he wouldn’t cost any top prospect he is worth getting to pair with Sanchez.

        • Just for discussion-sake: Joey Votto, one of the best first basemen in all of baseball played in all 162 games last year and had 581 ABs on 726 plate appearances. He hit for .300+ with a .435 OBP and a .491 SLG. and his ISO was .186 with a 156wRC+.

          IF the Pirates had had Gaby Sanchez and Adam Lind last year and they put up the same numbers against the platoon here would be what you’d get:
          -Lind: 421 plate appearances, 369 ABs, .300+ ave, .385 OBP, .539 SLG, and ISO of .230
          -Sanchez: 126 plate appearances, 102 ABs, .333 ave, .448 OBP, .539 SLG, and an ISO of .206
          -For the Year: .300+ ave, .400 OBP, .539 SLG, and a .218 ISO in 471 ABs (110 less at bats than Votto) with 24 HRs, 32 2B, 1 3B.

          That is the same # of HRs, 2 more 2B, 2 less 3B than Votto in 110 less at bats. Votto walks a lot and is a great player and I am not attempting to compare Lind or Sanchez to Votto…I am only saying that when you get down to it the Pirates, last season, would have received a similar production at 1B with Lind and Sanchez as the Reds got out of Joey Votto…minus the whole defense thing. LOL!

          Further look at career numbers for Gaby: .300/.399/.426 against lefties and Lind has a career: .286/.343/.508 against righties.

    • I don’t think they platooned him regularly.

      Morrisson was up and down and played OF at first, I believe. Coghlan was also up and down, and I’m not sure if he played any 1B.

      Very glad the Bucs don’t run their organization like the Marlins. For every “hit” prospect wise, there seems to be 3-4 top prospects who they rush and end up flaming out.

      • That is my concern about bringing up Polanco too early…give him more at bats in the high minors before we rush him to the majors.

        • If Polanco was in Miami’s organization he would have been a mid-season call up last year.

          I certainly don’t want them to rush him, but its hard to see him not forcing his way into the line-up at some point next year.

          • Hit ABs in the Dominican help a lot right now…I would still give him a full-season in AAA, but if he got 250-300 ABs at AAA that would probably not be a rush.

            • Why would you give him a full season at triple A?? If he his hitting well it makes no sense to leave him there. Ok fine if he is struggling but I don’t expect him to be struggling. Her is going on 23 that is not overly young for a stud prospect to arrive.

              I for one think he is ready now! With his plate discipline and patience I feel he could start opening day. Especially with RF being our weak spot it makes no sense to to leave our prized 5 tool stud in triple A UNLESS he is struggling.

  12. Why would the Marlins sign G.Jones putting a younger Morrison on the trade block? Cost? Production? Looked to me like the entire NL solved Jones and he had no answer.

  13. I love Lind’s bat. I would love to see that bat, combined with Pedro, behind McCutchen and Marte…you’d be essentially adding Garrett Jones’s 2012 bat back into the Pirates lineup…and Lind is a strong platoon option for Gaby.

    The defense with either is a concern, especially since we are already sacrificing defense for offense at the SS position.

    • Sometime, somehow, Lambo needs an extended look. Have to see what you’ve got. I’d hate to see him wander off to a new team and put up 50 some HR’s. The Pirates would never have that happen right?

    • Purely depends on what it would take.

      Assuming we have to give up a decent prospect for either, I would rather sign a FA.

      All the guys available have questions marks. That’s why they’re available. Why give up anything of value?

      • Wouldn’t imagine that any of the 1B, besides maybe Trumbo, would cost a top 10-15 prospect…shoot, it seems like they should be had for a middle-reliever.

        • Agreed. But in my mind, none of those guys are so much more valuable than Lonely that I would give up a 15-20 prospect for them.

          All depends HOW much risk you see in each guy, I guess.

    • Why? Lind has been mediocre at best for most of his career and he turns 31 by midseason. He is already past his prime age-wise.

      • Yadier Molina is 1 year older than Lind and put up his 2 best offensive years the last two years…the last 3 years actually blow away Molina’s whole career in terms of offense.

        Why do I bring up Yad when he’s clearly one of the best players in baseball and Lind isn’t? Because offense is really what is important when you are talking about Lind, because there is no defense. There are plenty of hitters who actually improve into their low 30s. From 30-34 I think is now the new hitters prime.

        • Yadier Molina aside, you have any evidence for the claim “From 30-34 I think is now the new hitters prime,” because I have never heard anything like that before.

          • Do you want a list of all the 30-34 year old hitters who had great seasons or career seasons? I can provide that if you’d like.

            -Michael Cuddyer had a career year in a hitter graveyard at age 34.
            -Yadier Molina
            -Jayson Werth had all his best seasons, including last season, between the ages of 30-34
            -Adrian Beltre had 4 of his best 5 season between the ages of 30-34
            -Robinson Cano had two of his three highest WAR years at ages 30 and 31
            -Since turning 30 David Ortiz has put up 4 1.000 OPS seasons and at 37 and 38 continued to put up career numbers
            -Torii Hunter’s best WAR as a pro came when he was 37 and he only had 2 seasons of .800+OPS before he turned 30.

            That is 7 of the top 20 hitters in baseball last season. Would you like me to go through more?

            • Hitting doesn’t tend to drop off sharply until a player’s bat speed starts to go.

              More so, some players’ plate patience, pitch selection, and general approach seems to get better with age.

              With players keeping in better and better physical shape each decade (and for some, the help of PEDs), I’d have to agree with Jared.

              Not every player is going to post career years from 31-34 at the plate, but they don’t seem to fall off the map as often at that age either.

              Defense and baserunning is a completely different story, though.

              • I didn’t include them in either of my two lists, but you can include Miguel Cabrera and Joe Mauer amongst those who had good/great seasons into their 30s. That would make almost 1/2 of the top 30 hitters from last year in their 30+ age bracket.

          • In fact I will go further, why not:

            -Victor Martinez: has more 20 hr years after he turned 30 than he did before and has more years of .800+OPS after turning 30
            -Matt Holliday: his best season was at 24, but I wouldn’t call what he’s done between 30 and 33 all that bad either, especially since his 2nd best WAR ever was in his 30-year old season.
            -Marco Scutero: Im pretty sure every good year that Scutero has had has come after he’s turned 30 and all 7 of his best WAR years have been since turning 30.
            -Carols Beltran: Don’t think a lot of explanation needs done here…Carlos continues to excel with the bat even as he’s turned 36.

            That is now 11 of the top 30 hitters for average last year in major league baseball who are older, significantly older actually, than 30 and have had dominant, if not their best seasons between 30-34.

            Statistically, hitters walk at about the same rate (less than 1% change) between the ages of 26 and 34. Likewise, you don’t see significant increases, normally, in strikeouts until age 35, although there is a slight uptick at age 31, but that matches about what they do in ages 26-27. So, basically, what I am saying is that there is plenty of evidence that hitters do well in their 30-34 seasons and that really is the point when you’re talking about the player in discussion, Adam Lind.

            • Point well taken. That is a pretty impressive list. I suppose I have read/heard about age-curves peaking around age 28 or 29 that I guess I hadn’t considered how much of that was running/defense, which as you said player little role in considering Adam Lind.

              • I then went back and included another series of players who do make it much closer to 50%, if you check.
                And, actually, I think the list is fairly consistent if you look at the stats. Many had their best seasons in the ages of 30-34 and consistently continued to put up high numbers, higher than elsewhere in their careers, during those ages. Again, read all the posts and you can see that.

                • So I thought about this some more and there are at least two problems:

                  1) I don’t know what stats you are looking at, but when I looked at the top 30 hitters sorted by Fangraphs Off[ensive WAR], the mean/median/mode is 29/29/30 years of age. Which is a little older than the 28-29 that I was expecting, but isn’t exactly evidence that the new prime is 30-34 – probably closer to 28-32.

                  2) The second issue is selection bias. It is reasonable to assume that only good players get to have regular at bats well into there thirties. To be fair this also applies to very young players as well, only very good players will get regular playing time at age 23. I tried truncating the averages, by discarding the oldest and youngest 5 players in the top 30, but it still came out to 29/29/30. So those results are pretty robust.

                  So you are certainly correct to point out that a player with a good track record is unlikely to fall off a cliff at age-31, but I think you may go too far when suggesting that 30-34 is the “new prime”

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